Sunday, March 31, 2019

Clippers Cruise Past the Cavaliers in First Game of back-to-back

Written by: Griffin Greenberg 
JaMychal Green going up for a dunk

The Clippers didn't miss a beat with Danilo Gallinari out as they beat the Cleveland Cavs 132-108. In a game where everyone played (but Gallo obviously), the Clippers won easily as they really came alive in the 4th quarter. Despite Beverley's poor 1-10 shooting from the field, he finished with a +/- of +12 and strong defense (as usual). This shows that Bev is such a valuable asset and he doesn't need to just shoot well to affect the game. Aside from Gallinari missing the game due to a sore left ankle and Bev's shooting, everyone else shot pretty well today with JaMychal Green finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds on 8-9 shooting in 23 minutes, Ivica Zubac with 6 points and 5 rebounds on 3-3 shooting in 15 minutes, Shamet with 13 points, Lou with 18 points and 6 assists, Garrett Temple with 13 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting which includes 3-3 from beyond the arc, Montrezl Harrell with 23 points and 6 rebounds on 10-13 shooting, and Shai delivering 22 points on 9-12 shooting which includes 3-3 from beyond the arc and 8 assists as well. With Green being asked to fill a huge roll with Gallo out, he certainly delivered.  The team shot 62.4% from the field, 45.5% from the 3, registered 27 fast break points to the Cavs' 11, and had 33 assists with is the 10th time this season that the Clips have finished with 30+ in a game.

Also, some great things to take away from this game was how Doc Rivers was able to get Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler involved even more. Overall, it was a great team win for the Clips. While some may say that they were playing a horrible Cavalier team without Kevin Love, that is true but this a great confidence booster, especially for the young guys. This win puts the Clips back in the win column after a 10 point loss to the Bucks without Lou Will and Beverley. The Clippers now stand at 6th in the west, 1.5 games in front of San Antonio and OKC and 0.5 games behind Utah for the 5th spot. If the season ended today, the Clippers would play the Rockets in the first round. The Clippers next game is tonight (Sunday night) against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Clippers Clinch Playoff Birth with Late Push Over T-Wolves

Written by: Griffin Greenberg

Playoff-clinching win and Beverley injury

Clippers celebrate 122-111 playoff-clinching win

If I told you at the beginning of the NBA season that the Los Angeles Clippers would be the better Los Angeles basketball team at the end of the season you would think I was crazy! But, this is in fact the case. With the Clippers projected to be a 22 win team at the beginning of the season, they have proved everybody wrong and marked an outstanding 45-30 record as of March 26th.

The Clippers' playoff clinching win came tonight against the Timberwolves in a 122-111 win where the Clippers took control right away in the game. The Clippers ended the first quarter leading 42-23 as Danilo Gallinari led the way with 14 points. The Clippers continued this dominance through the second quarter and went into halftime with a 20 point lead. Suddenly with over 8 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Clippers PG, Patrick Beverley, had to head to the locker room due to right hip pointer and he didn't return for the rest of the game. Concern then struck as the Timberwolves took a 23 point deficit at the time and were only down by 12 in a matter of 4 minutes. Minnesota later cut it down to as low as 6 in the 4th quarter but the Clippers pulled away and ended up winning by 11. But, this Beverley injury is very important for the Clippers. Ever since he left the game, the Clippers stopped moving the ball around and settled for some questionable threes on important possessions. Once the Clippers distributed the ball they played much better. When Shai-Gilgeous Alexander controlled the offense, the Clippers played much like a team again propelling the win. Gallo and Beverley are the main keys to the squad. Once Gallo gets going and Beverley gets excited and ready to stop anyone on defense, this team cannot be stopped as nobody can contest the depth with Montrezl Harrell, another great energy spark, and Lou Williams who can heat up in a second come off the bench.

Basically, the Clippers have to stay healthy and if they can, they can surprise a lot of people in the playoffs.  With some help by the Charlotte Hornets as they defeated the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers now hold the 5th seed in the West. 0.5 games ahead of the Jazz, 1.5 ahead of the Thunder, and 2 games ahead of the Spurs. This has been a surprise to many considering the Clippers traded their best player, Tobias Harris, near the All-Star break. But, Jerry West is working his magic for them as he acquired tons of draft picks in years to come and big man Ivica Zubac along with many other players. The Clippers have now won the last 11 out of 12 games. This team is playing incredible team basketball and once Landry Shamet and Beverley are 100% and back from their injuries, this is a scary team. While this is supposed to be a tanking period, the Clippers keep winning and it looks great for the franchise and the Clips are set up in perfect position to acquire big name free agents in free agency with their 2 max contract slots. All the Clippers have to do is stay healthy, celebrate this great run with some champagne like Gallo is doing below, and let Jerry West work his magic and this team could be very successful very soon. The Clippers next face the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday which is regarded as their toughest remaining matchup.